Can Burger King get into the groove? CNET reported today that the privately held burger giant will echo McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) move earlier this summer by offering free music downloads. It's teaming with Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) AOL Music unit to bring music downloads to the menu.

As you may recall, in June, McDonald's teamed with Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Connect service to provide music with Big Macs. When first hearing of the deal, I suspected similar setups would rapidly emerge as companies longed to take advantage of the lure of music.

Although Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hooked up early with Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) for download giveaways, one might wonder when and whether it might venture into the fast food realm, as it seems it would be a coveted partner.

For Burger King, the move may just give it some hip cred with teens and young people, a coveted demographic who could grow up to be good customers. However, maybe the most interesting twist in this story is the download provider -- AOL Music. What the heck? After all, when most of us think about musical downloads, we generally think about Sony Connect, Apple's iTunes, and Roxio's Napster, and even giants Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

America Online has been struggling with dwindling dial-up customers and the need to push broadband content that will lure users of its services. And the downloading space is particularly crowded. It offers 700,000 songs through partner MusicNet, CNET said.

So, for all that Burger King's got a new edge to try to catch up with McDonald's and Wendy's, it may be more important for America Online. After all, given the tough names in music downloading, the exposure may very well give the AOL Music unit the profile boost it may desperately need right now as it tries to compete through content.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.